How to Use the Eyedropper (Sample Color) Tool in MS Publisher

Instead of picking from the theme colors or other color palettes in Microsoft Publisher, use the eyedropper to select a fill, outline, or text color from any other object in your document.

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Import Your Graphic

 Place the piece of artwork you want to use into your document.

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    Choose the Tool

    3 steps for sampling colors with the eyedropper tool in Publisher
    Sample colors from any image to build a custom selection of colors to use for filling objects, coloring lines, or coloring text. | Click on the image to see it larger. © Jacci Howard Bear; licensed to

    With the picture selected, choose Picture Tools > Format > Picture Border > Sample Line Color.

    If you're selecting colors from other shapes, select a shape and go to Drawing Tools > Format > Shape Fill > Sample Fill Color or Shape Outline > Sample Line Color. 

    If you're selecting a color from the text you've added to the page, highlight the text and navigate to Text Box Tools > Format > Font Color > Sample Font Color.

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    Sample the Color

    When your cursor changes to an eyedropper, place it over any color in the image. If you click and hold, a small, colored square shows you the color you are selecting, This is handy if you are trying to zero in on one color among many. 

    Repeat this step for all the colors you want to capture. They now appear in the Recent Colors section below Scheme Colors and Standard Colors.

    Be sure to save your publication at this point. The sampled Recent Colors stay with the document.

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    Apply a Background Color

    Applying sampled colors to new objects in Publisher
    After using the eyedropper tool to sample colors, you can then apply those color swatches to new objects and text. | Click on the image to see it larger. © Jacci Howard Bear; licensed to | Owl © Dixie Allan.

    Now that you have a selection of colors, you can start applying color to other objects on your page. 

    To apply a background color select Page Design > Background > More Backgrounds to bring up the Fill Effects menu. 

    Select the One Color button and then click on the Color 1 drop-down menu to reveal the Theme/Standard/Recent Colors. Choose one of the sampled Recent Colors.

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    Insert a Circle Shape

    If you'd like to insert a circle shape, use Insert > Shapes and then choose Drawing Tools > Format > Shape Fill. 

    Choose a color from the Recent Colors.

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    Apply Color to Text

    For any text, draw a text box using Insert > Draw Text Box. Type the text of your choosing and select the desired font. Then, with the text highlighted, choose the Font Color menu and select one of the Recent Colors.

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    Do a Final Layout of Your Page

     Arrange text and objects on the page.

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    An Alternate Method

    Sample colors on the fly by selecting the object or text you want to color. Sample the color with the eyedropper from another object or text on the page, and it is automatically applied to your selected object/text.

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